Remember, remember, it’s the 5th of November

8 of the 13 Gunpowder Plot conspirators.  Guy Fawkes is third from the right.

8 of the 13 Gunpowder Plot conspirators. Guy Fawkes is third from the right.

Today is November 5th, and until V for Vendetta, it was just a date to me.  I don’t know how I didn’t know about Guy Fawkes and his attempted revolution.  I mean, I went to a school that based its operations on a British model: many of the teachers were from across the pond; our church performed Anglican services; our principal had a British name.  So how did I not know?

No matter, I know now.  However, I’m not necessarily interested in that long ago event.  What interests me now is how this 5th of November finds much of the world in the midst of several revolutions.

The “Occupy Wall Street” movement, which has been running since the middle of September, has spread worldwide, as ordinary citizens voice their objections to corporate greed, the increasing gap between the haves and the have-nots, and political and economic systems designed to not only keep the very rich well-to-do but make them richer, while reducing the chances for everyone else to attain higher levels of comfort and success.  Wall Street has been noticeably quiet about the whole thing, although Bank of America, who had intended to begin charging customers for the use of their own debit cards, decided to back off.  It is unclear whether they did so because their customers complained loudly, or because they experienced pressure from their competitors who were, understandably, poised to pick up disgruntled former BoA customers.  It’s likely a bit of both.

Bank Transfer Day poster by Elijah Frayerman. (c) 2011

Bank Transfer Day Poster by Elijah Frayerman. (c) 2011, with Guy Fawkes imagery super-imposing Benjamin Franklin's face by artist Eddie Colla.

Nonetheless, this day has already been set up as “Bank transfer day”.  Consumers are encouraged to transfer their money out of commercial bank accounts and into credit unions and community banks

Meantime, this year has seen the “Arab Spring”, an all encompassing term that describes the various uprisings that spread throughout the Middle East, from Egypt to Syria and beyond.  In fact, on this 5th of November, it is not over yet: Richard Engle, Chief Foreign Correspondent for the NBC television network, juste returned from a secret trip to Syria where he reported on the situation there.  News has practically trickled to a stop in the last few months, but it seems clear this is not a case of no news being good news.

The “Arab Spring” isn’t the only protest (or even group of protests) this year.  Europe has seen violent upheavals, namely in Greece and England, over a variety of “austerity measures” and other government initiatives that would raise the cost of things like higher education.  Moreover, a world wide day of protest, coordinated via a multitude of social media outlets, saw more than a million people: the October 15 day of protest saw people take to the streets in Europe, North America, even Tokyo and Santiago saw people respond to the call.

As the year draws to an end, there can be no doubt the world is in the midst of a serious upheaval.  It seems to me increasingly clear that when it’s done, it will be the end of the world as we know it.  Who knows what the end result will be, or how long it will take?

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